My Diabetes story part 3: how I manage hypos

Hypoglycemia - or a "hypo" - happens when there's an abnormally low level of glucose in the blood. CMR's Luci Talbot Clarke (who had her first hypo at the tender age of 10) describes what it's like.

For type 1 Diabetics, too much insulin – or too little food – leaves blood sugar low, triggering “a hypo” and resulting in severe discomfort which can only be resolved by immediate attention to bring blood sugar back in balance. Hypos can be serious – if left untreated, they can result in seizure and unconsciousness. For 10 year old Luci, her first hypo remains an unforgettable experience.

My first hypo aged 10

“I remember my first hypo very clearly. I was sitting on top of the stairs and felt really, really odd. I was dizzy, sweating and ravenously hungry. My mum seemed strangely fascinated as it was my first time! It was like, “Wow! I think you’re having a hypo” and then panic!”

Career building

During Luci’s twenties and thirties, Luci worked hard to build her career in TV, managing the production of the Formula 1 TV series and rising through the ranks to become MD of one of London’s most prestigious post-production companies. Yet despite her success, the Diabetes still remained a constant in her life as the pressures of her career threatened her overall health to potentially dangerous levels.

“My fear then was always about having a hypo in a meeting environment when you’re being highly professional or presenting to a client. They’re never pleasant, but the idea of having a hypo while ‘on show’ terrifies me. The funny thing is, some of the symptoms – trembling, shaking, a weird feeling in your tummy – are similar to the feeling of nervousness you get in high pressure situations. So when I was at school, I’d need to be extra vigilant just before going into an exam or acting on stage.”

Lucozade

“At work, it was the same: once, just before a particularly pressurized meeting, I thought I felt a hypo coming on. So I nipped out, frantically swigged from a bottle of Lucozade and returned to the meeting like nothing had happened. Later I tested my blood and my levels were really high- I was obviously nervous and not hypo! Unfortunately stress and adrenaline also higher your blood sugar so that mixed with the Lucozade made for a bad day!”

Liked Luci's blog?

To read more about Luci’s Diabetes experience, take a look at her other blogs:

Part 1: My childhood with diabetes

Part 2: managing my condition – DAFNE and medical devices.’

CMR: Our Diabetes experience

We believe we are the only Diabetes medical device specialist market research agency. Although CMR started life covering all medical device types, Diabetes is our priority. Our first project in 2000 was a usability study for a blood glucose meter and now over 60% of our work is in the Diabetes sector.

Over the past 16 years we have worked on a multitude of Diabetes device types including insulin pens, lancets, blood glucose meters, DPN monitors, Hba1c monitors, continuous glucose monitors and insulin pumps (including patch pumps). We’ve also covered user guides, med-ed, support services, advertising, sales aids, packaging and apps in the Diabetes field.

We recently undertook a piece of independent research to uncover user perceptions of Abbott FreeStyle Libre. The FreeStyle Libre came from leftfield, taking the market by surprise and having heard a lot of anecdotal feedback about its performance we wanted to find out what users really think.

To download the findings, visit CMR’s Abbott Freestyle Libre Hot Topics page. To explore how our research could help you, as a medical device manufacturer, please get in touch.